To the west of Los Angeles lies the vibrant beachfront neighborhood of Venice. For many years, it was an independent city–until merging with LA in the 1920s. Today, it’s home to many artists, mystics, performers, and folks hoping to live close to the city center. It’s eclectic and terrifically odd. Walking the promenade along the ocean feels like you’re at a circus and an art show, all in one.
For the first time, I got the chance to wander around the interior streets of the area. To be perfectly honest, I felt a bit silly being unaware of the canal district–that’s why they call it Venice. DUH!
Venice was established in the early 1900s as a resort town by some tobacco millionaire. The land was marshy, so he dug canals that could be turned into residential real estate. For a while, Venice thrived. It was like an amusement park for the people of Southern California. People flocked to the attractions on the weekends.
However, once the founder, Abbot Kinney, passed away, things started going downhill. After decades of being overlooked by the city of Los Angeles, Venice earned itself a terrible reputation as the “Slum of the Sea.” Violence and poverty reeked havoc. It’s hard to gloss over the segregation, gang activity, influx of immigrants looking for low rent, police raids, and eventual gentrification of the neighborhood. Homes there now cost millions and millions of dollars. (Much like the Hobbit-like house pictured below, going for nearly $3,000,000!)
That being said, Venice is an insane tickler of the senses. It’s vibrant in the best ways and definitely worth a visit.
Since I forgot to snap a few shots of my sneakers on this Venice-Adventure, I thought I’d get a little more artistic, in true Venice-Fashion, and and draw them for y’all.